The Similan Islands float off the west coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea - there are nine to explore. Dive sites hold a variety of giant boulders, caves, narrow passages and over 500 species of hard and soft coral pulsating with life. Leopard sharks, guitar rays, whale sharks, mantas and turtles make diving the Similan Islands a feast for your eyes.
The west and east coast of the islands are polar opposites in terms of diving. The East Coast boasts exceptional visibility and gentle to moderate currents. Hard coral makes up the sand-covered reefs. The West Coast is deeper with stronger currents leading to canyons, tunnels, swim-throughs, archways and caverns. With such varied sites, diving in the Similan Islands is a paradise.
Diving in the Similan Islands is best explored by boat trips and liveaboards. Expect white powdery sand and a castaway feeling.
The diving season for the Similan Islands is from late October to early May when sloping coral reefs, deep rocky gorges and dazzling landscapes are at their finest. In general, the East coast dive sites are hard coral reefs with some soft coral and a huge variety of marine life. The diving is fairly relaxed, with gentle/moderate currents. 20 – 30m visibility is the norm.
Whale sharks and manta rays are regularly seen between February and April when diving in the Similan Islands. Water temperature ranges from 78-84°F/26-29°C and is warmest towards the end of the season (February-May).
Find local PADI dive shops and explore the top dive sites with our map.
The Similan Islands are 570km south of Bangkok and are easily accessible. You can't fly to the Similan Islands but you can fly to the popular island of Phuket (daily flights from Bangkok to Phuket take 1hr 25m).
When you land on Phuket you take a boat from Chalong or Patong. These two departure ports offer boat trips to the Similan Islands - the journey is a couple of hours depending on which island you will be diving from. Koh Tachai - the most visited of the Similan Islands - is four hours away, while Koh Similan (the largest) can be reached in about two.
Alternatively you can access diving in the Similan Islands by boat from Khao Lak (2h) - a great jumping off point for island hopping. To reach Khao Lak from the south of Thailand, take the ferry from Koh Tao or Khao Samui to Surrathani, then a bus from Surrathani to Khao Lak (4h).
Liveaboards are a good option for the Similan Islands, departing from Chalong, Patong, Thap Lamu, Kaho Lak, Ranong and other places on Phuket.